Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

MLB starters who fare better in shorter stints

If you are going to pull starters earlier, why not go to a four-man rotation? This would add another body to the pen (someone you should be able to use for two+ inning stints). As Earl Weaver used to say, it’s easier to find four good starters than five.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 03, 2018 at 08:29 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: statcast

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 03, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5599966)
You might be able to do a five-day rotation with your top starters, but I don't think you could pull off a four-man rotation in this day and age of maximum effort.

-- MWE
   2. Rally Posted: January 03, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5599967)
You have pitchers who can be effective in short starts in a 5 man rotation but not in longer starts. It's not a given they can be as effective if you take away a day of rest. You might just give back all the gains you've made by holding them to shorter outings.
   3. Zonk did it for the children of Russia Posted: January 03, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5599988)
You might be able to do a five-day rotation with your top starters, but I don't think you could pull off a four-man rotation in this day and age of maximum effort.


If you managed to mix in an old-fashioned "horse" - especially with a manager/PC/FO that carefully monitors PCs and arm slots (i.e., 'protects' the horse)?

Add the new 10 day DL to that -- effective taxi-squading a pool of options-holding relievers...

I think the real hard part is that to do something like this - you'd really and truly need a complete redraft so you could build your entire pitching staff (including those 2-3-4 taxi squad pitchers) from scratch, with every pitcher specifically geared towards this.

I feel like that's always the sticky widget with such ideas - no team turns over its entire pitching staff year-to-year (at least, no good ones) and it seems like undertaking something like really demands building the entire staff to support such a concept.

Just spitballing... if you could - and let's be reasonable in considering you don't get 15 consecutive picks -- how would you construct such a staff?

It feels like you'd probably want Corey Kluber as you ace. He feels like a low-end pitch-count guy with a history of going deep in games (plus some - postseason at least, experience working decently well on shorter rest). If I could fit him in - Jake Arrieta feels like a good #2; it may be perception, but Jake is one of the guys who feels like he's usually quite good for 5 but hits a 3rd time through wall, unless he's in a groove period where both his stuff and command take him deeper... so mostly a 5 inning guy - occasionally going deeper. Could we still get Lance McCullers as a 3rd pick or does he have too much upside to last that long? If not him - maybe Dinelson Lamet? Finding a reasonable #4 is tough.... someone like John Lackey maybe?

In the pen, we'd probably want at least two good multi-inning guys... I'll assume we spent our wads on the rotation - so the Millers are off the board. Adam Warren and Mike Montgomery? Mike Minor?

Flipping to the end-game, would anyone above say - Addison Reed be left? Maybe him AND Cody Allen?

Filling it out.... Ross Stripling seems reasonable.

This puts us at:

Kluber
Arrieta
McCullers
Lackey

Montgomery
Minor
Warren
Stripling
Reed
Allen


Toss in a rubber-armed LOOGY (Tony Sipp?).... fill it out with live-armed kids with solid health histories... Carl Edwards? The Pads' Jose Torres?

It *feels* that's a reasonable staff.... but you need a sort complete re-draft/re-sign start from scratch in order to build it.

   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5600274)
It's the 2-inning relief guys that are the sticky wicket. And how much do you think you can cut SPs back?

As I've noted many times, the trend is towards lower workloads for individual relief slots, especially your top guys. We have maybe seen a bit of push back in the last couple of years with guys like Miller and Devenski and Monty being used for more than 1 inning fairly regularly. But still, in 2017 it was just 6 pure relievers (95%+) who made it to 80 innings and only 29 who made it to 70.

If you cut the average start by 1/3 of an inning, that adds 54 innings to your relief load -- that's nearly one full relief slot in today's usage. In the last couple of years (only), teams have pushed out from an average around 490-500 relief innings to about 540. That required the 13th pitcher.

It's clear that the statnerds are pushing for shorter starts and I think teams are trying to figure out how to pull it off which, at least for now, seems to have them trying some multi-inning relief. We're definitely seeing this as a postseason strategy ... although we may also be seeing the bullpen meltdowns even over those relatively short periods with lots of days off. But to significantly reduce IP/start in the regular season (e.g. by a full inning or something) without substantial roster expansion, I'm pretty sure all you end up doing is shifting innings from your ML rotation to what would have been your AAA rotation who are now moving up and down as long relievers. I think you're also punting games when you trail early on a fairly regular basis (i.e. nothing but AAA mop-up guys to cover the last 5-6 innings, then send them down and replace ... obviously this already happens on occasion).

I will agree with the general notion that if you're going to try to push down to something like 5 IP/start, you might as well try to find out if you can do that with a 4-man (or 5-day, good point) rotation. That doesn't seem outlandish to me. To those that don't recall the 5-day rotation, basically you used off-days to skip your 5th starter whenever possible, occasionally but not often requiring a top-4 starter to go on 3 days rest. This usually resulted in 34-37 starts for your top guys and about 18 for your #5 guy. With more days off in the season, you might be able to push that out a bit more. 37 starts of 5 innings is 185 innings which is about all anybody pitches these days anyway. And maybe you still let Scherzer go 6 (222 IP).

Anyway, with 9 relief slots you can push the total relief load out past 600 innings, towards 630, maybe even 640 and now you can get down to about 5 innings per start. But that's still about 22 batters faced per game so your SP is still facing the meat of the order three times. It's not clear to me that avoiding the #6-8 hitters for a third time is a major improvement in run prevention.
   5. ptodd Posted: January 03, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5600492)
If they expand the rosters to 28 we probably are not far away from the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation being all bullpen arms going 2 innings for the first 6 innings.

If you look at the ERA of each spot in the rotation you will see that many hitters today are feasting on the 4th and 5th spots of most rotations. These last 2 spots by mid season are often pitched by guys who were 7th-8th on the pre-season depth chart and moved up due to injury or dismal performance by those ahead of them (not necessarily because they pitched great)
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5600494)
If they expand the rosters to 28 we probably are not far away from the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation being all bullpen arms going 2 innings for the first 6 innings.

Why would they ever do that? The league has too many K's already. And, the owner don't want to pay 3 more major leaguers.
   7. shoewizard Posted: January 04, 2018 at 12:36 AM (#5600563)
The D backs this year were obsessed early on with trying to get 21 outs from their starters as often as possible. That was the goal. They were actually trying to protect the bullpen.

Article from Early April


Robbie Ray’s jittery first few innings of pitching Monday night might exemplify the benefits of his skipper staying off the phone line.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has told his starting pitchers they won’t be getting a lifeline this year. He wants six or seven innings a night out of his rotation, and if it comes after a difficult inning or two, so be it.

“I wanted to make sure that instead of looking for somebody else to come in and pick up the slack for them that they were going to be conditioned for those moments and pitch into the sixth and seventh inning,” Lovullo told Burns and Gambo Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I’m asking for our starters to go 21 outs.”



This lead to a slow hook by Torey Lovullo on quite a number of occasions where people were screaming for him to pull a starter and the starter proceeded to get blown up. But there were plenty of times it looked like a guy should be pulled and they stuck with him, and he got out of it.

Net result was ok. They went cheap with the bullpen last year, and it made sense to be careful with guys like Bradley and even Rodney. Anyway, will be interesting to see if they continue to zig while many others are zagging or if they adjust their strategy.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5600649)
Just spitballing... if you could - and let's be reasonable in considering you don't get 15 consecutive picks -- how would you construct such a staff?


I think your draft is overly optimistic. Both Arrieta and McCullers would be #2 picks.

Setting aside hitters entirely... Kluber is a top 5 pick, clearly. I just downloaded the Steamer projections...

Kluber is 4th
Arrieta is 35th (reasonable #2 pick)
65th is possibly someone like Kyle Gibson or Chad Kuhl or Mike Leake.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5600660)
With a snake draft you'd get stuck with the 4th and, what, 56th picks?

Steamer SP's #52-60:

Cole Hamels
J.A. Happ
Tyler Anderson
Luiz Gohara
Danny Salazar
Tanner Roark
Jaime Garcia
Drew Pomeranz
Danny Duffy
   10. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5600697)
Ok, this is as good as anything else to do during a conference call:

All teams draft 5 starters, then 7 relievers. We draft 3 SPs, then a stretch reliever, then a 4th starter, then 6 relievers..

Pick #5 Kluber
Pick #55 JA Happ
Pick #65 Tyler Chatwood
Pick #115 Brad Peacock! (multi-IP guy)
Pick #125 Martin Perez

Relievers:

Pick #25 Brandon Morrow
Pick #35 Chris Devenski (multi-IP guy)
Pick #85 Michael Lorenzen
Pick #95 Adam Ottavino
Pick #145 Randall Delgado
Pick #155 Tony Cingrani


I dunno. It's ok. You want to go to war with this?
   11. Zonk did it for the children of Russia Posted: January 04, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5600719)
I dunno. It's ok. You want to go to war with this?


I don't think that's a terrible staff -- of course, given you still need a lineup -- probably a shitty team :-)

I wouldn't take Morrow - for our staff, health is very much a premium - probably spend that #25 on another SP.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5600727)
I don't think that's a terrible staff -- of course, given you still need a lineup -- probably a shitty team :-)


No, I had everyone draft starting pitchers at the same time, and then everyone draft relief pitchers at the same time. So Morrow was #25 among relievers, not #25 overall, and zero position players were taken.

So it's designed to be average. All of the staffs ought to be just as good or bad.

And by "everyone draft," I mean I just skipped 30 names down the list and chose someone. I didn't actually make multiple teams.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: January 04, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5600738)
Also the Steamer rankings of relief pitchers are bizarre. Anthony Swarzak is projected higher than Cody Allen.
   14. Accent Shallow wishes he had more middle fingers Posted: January 04, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5600796)
Also the Steamer rankings of relief pitchers are bizarre. Anthony Swarzak is projected higher than Cody Allen.


They are ranked by how their last names would score in Scrabble.
   15. Stevey Posted: January 04, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5601080)
I dunno. It's ok. You want to go to war with this?


It may not seem special, but I would guess that once we did this exercise for all 30 teams, and not just compare it to what playoff teams have right now, you would feel pretty good about it. This kind of draft should see just about every team between 75 and 85 wins. I
   16. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 05, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5601453)
Pick #25 Brandon Morrow
Pick #35 Chris Devenski (multi-IP guy)
Pick #85 Michael Lorenzen
Pick #95 Adam Ottavino
Pick #145 Randall Delgado
Pick #155 Tony Cingrani


You've got four guys there - Lorenzen, Delgado, and Cingrani, in addition to Devenski - who could probably go longer than three outs on a regular basis, so I don't think that's actually all that bad.

-- MWE
   17. Jim Furtado Posted: January 08, 2018 at 06:07 AM (#5602566)
You've got four guys there - Lorenzen, Delgado, and Cingrani, in addition to Devenski - who could probably go longer than three outs on a regular basis, so I don't think that's actually all that bad.

I don't believe this to be true. Pitcher usage is a matter of conditioning. You'd need to prepare your pitchers for their roles.

As Walt mentioned, during the four-man error teams didn't literally start all their guys with three days rest. It boggles my mind that starters in the past would be averaging over 100 pitches per start with their past innings workloads and starters today can't manage the same game usage pattern topping out at 75-85 pitches per start.

I envision 3 long relievers who are available to pitch two inning stints. Pitch two innings then get 1 or two days off. You'd fill out the rest of the bullpen with single inning guys. You'd also plan on swapping out the back-end guys with minor leaguers to try and keep some fresh arms available.

   18. bachslunch Posted: January 08, 2018 at 07:36 AM (#5602572)
If you managed to mix in an old-fashioned "horse" - especially with a manager/PC/FO that carefully monitors PCs and arm slots (i.e., 'protects' the horse)?


Sorry to report, Mr. Ed died in 1970. Might or might not have been able to pitch in his prime but could apparently hit, if the show featuring the LA Dodgers on it is any indication. Have to find another young stud instead.
   19. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 08, 2018 at 08:22 AM (#5602577)
I know we don't care about W/L, and there's far less emphasis placed on that in MLB than there ever has been - but I feel like that unless one changes he rules for allocating Ws, you're not going to get a lot of starting pitcher buy-in to the no-more-than-two-times-through-the-order strategy.
   20. Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 08:39 AM (#5603202)
Buy-in is tied to dollars. Relievers have desired a closer role because that's where the money was. Now that middle guys are getting paid, we'll see more and more guys embracing the role. (Of course it will take a while for Arb guys to see a pay increase.)

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Guts
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogRob Manfred: Mike Trout limits his popularity because he won't market himself
(26 - 5:25am, Jul 19)
Last: Blastin

Newsblog14 minutes of sound footage from the April 1931 Yankees-Red Sox season opener (YouTube)
(10 - 5:13am, Jul 19)
Last: Snowboy

NewsblogOTP 2018 July 16: Why Does President Trump Balk At Attending Baseball Games?
(922 - 4:50am, Jul 19)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogAaron Judge — Huge Talent, Phenomenal Trade Bait
(2 - 12:58am, Jul 19)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogManny Machado blockbuster makes Dodgers the NL's team to beat
(8 - 12:48am, Jul 19)
Last: Walt Davis

Gonfalon CubsLooking Forward
(4 - 12:28am, Jul 19)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (World Cup)
(3225 - 12:27am, Jul 19)
Last: G. Bostock

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Summer Potpourri (finals, draft, free agency, Colangelo dragging)
(3408 - 12:16am, Jul 19)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogWilson Ramos Placed On DL, Expected To Be Sidelined Beyond Non-Waiver Trade Deadline
(1 - 11:08pm, Jul 18)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (let's call it July 2018)
(578 - 10:39pm, Jul 18)
Last: Zonk did it for the children of Russia

NewsblogASG All-Star Week Thread
(237 - 9:13pm, Jul 18)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2018
(24 - 8:34pm, Jul 18)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

NewsblogTaking Back the Ballparks - Diamondbacks voting thread
(16 - 8:04pm, Jul 18)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogOrioles have deal in place for Manny Machado, working through trade specifics
(20 - 7:38pm, Jul 18)
Last: Crispix Attacksel Rios

Newsblog10 Years Ago, Two Trades Broke The Mold For MLB Deadline Deals
(14 - 6:34pm, Jul 18)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

Page rendered in 0.3137 seconds
46 querie(s) executed